The Viewership might not be at par with gecs in india but that does not mean that english movie channels in india are niche!

How challenging has been the journey for Sony PIX so far?
PIX commenced operations in 2006 as a library channel for the Sony titles. Being the only Indian English movie channel we feel proud on the kind of support we received along the way that has helped us establish ourselves as one of the leading Hollywood movie channels in the country today. We have also added original content like Gateway and Chicks on Flicks, which is the only Hollywood movie review show in India. Even sports properties like the FA Cup and boxing are now being added to the content. In fact, the two highest rated movies of 2009 – Slumdog Millionaire & Ong Bak 2 – were telecasted on PIX.

Is there really a scope for niche genre like yours in India?
We don’t consider our genre as niche. The viewership might not be at par with GECs in the country, but that does not mean that as an English movie channel in India we are niche. With the rise in number of viewers conversant with English there is a growth in the number of viewers demanding English movies. Another factor that enables us to reach out to more viewers is subtitles since it enables them to understand dialogues better than before.

What about your target audience?
Our target audience is from the age group of 18 to 35 years with an inclination for the male viewers. This TG largely lies in the metros which as per industry norm is the skew for our genre. The reach for PIX is at 18%, which at par with HBO and Star Movies across all six metros.

How do you view the competition in the Indian ‘English movie channel’ market?
We compete with HBO and Star Movies on a weekly basis in six metros and it is a very competitive space at the moment. Though big titles, popular cast and directors are key for our competition, we also believe in a good story being the quintessential ingredient for the movies on PIX. We, like our competition, too offer popular titles but it is our emphasis on story telling that sets us apart and enable us to beat our competition on a frequent basis. For instance, our film Gandhi was rated higher than the Indian TV Premiere of Dark Knight on HBO in January 2010.

So what all titles do you plan to acquire this year?
Our current acquisitions includes the Academy Winner Hurt Locker, the American smash hit comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, Spin and Extract to name a few. We are currently in the process of acquiring more movies for the current year.

What kind of promotional activities does Sony PIX undertake to ensure that it remains unique?
We believe in selective, innovative, effective and consistent marketing for all our films. It is important for us to establish an association with places frequented by our TG which is why we have branding deals with restaurants, cafes, multiplexes, book stores, et al. Every title is handled uniquely to create a buzz in the market. Promotional activities such as the Slumdog Bus ride, Outlander Paintball Battle, Closer Film Screening and relationship counselor session, Young Hollywood club events and the most recent PIX Moonwalker’s Night to promote ‘This Is It’ are some examples of promotional events in the recent past. Our aim is to establish direct touch points and engage with our viewers through any promotional activity we plan around our films.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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